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Gear Review: A Sleek, Swanky Hoodie For Men

By National
Geographic Adventure Contributing Editor Steve Casimiro, editor of
The Adventure Life

A few years ago, an outdoor apparel manufacturer was showing me a line of tops for men and women. All the chickie pieces had hoods available, but none of the men’s. “We can’t sell hoodies to guys in outdoor shops,” he said, which was a head scratcher to me because at the time surf companies couldn’t make enough guy’s hooded sweats.

Times have changed. Or guys have changed. Or apparel makers have changed. Because one of the swankiest hoodies I’ve ever worn is just hitting stores, the Boulder Hood from Icebreaker. Made of organic merino wool and lined with stretch-woven polyester, it features a polyurethane laminate that blocks water but still breathes. It’s at once a dressy coat and a performance garment.

By some measures, the Boulder Hood is a strange beast. The wool outer fabric feels like what you’d find on a high-end woolen coat. But the hood gives it a decidedly modern, hip silhouette while adding an extra bit of functionality. In some coats, the hood might not work. But with Icebreaker’s subtle attention to details, it does.

And forgetting about how it looks for a minute, when worn it’s super comfortable—roomy without being huge, soft on inside and out, and warm but not stifling. The hood might not play on Wall Street, but for just about everywhere and everything else—work, travel, going out, primary autumn jacket or layered winter coat—this Icebreaker sells itself ($400;